Two sisters trying to find themselves in the most terrifying place imaginable. This is the start of a game that has not lacked comparisons with Bio Shock but tries to have its personality. In the analysis of Close to the Sun, we tell you if the title has achieved everything you were looking for.
Something had the Bio Shock formula that marked us all. It is true that dystopias work very well in video games, it is the ideal backdrop for entertainment like ours, but there was something magical about venturing into that fantastic and completely new world that was Rapture. The unbeatable artistic style and the suggestiveness of the story were fundamental to achieve it, but we must not disdain the magic of venturing into a completely new universe to discover, and where the rules we know do not work. That is why the comments have rained mentioning in the same sentence close to the Sun with the legendary work of Ken Levine, although from Storm in a Teacup they have hastened to deny them.
The unchecking of the comparisons with BioShock is the logical step that you have to do as a creative, but the common points are inevitable. The careful use of Art Deco, the very concept of adventure and that feeling of venturing into the unknown is common patterns, although there is not an iota of it that retains strength to Close to the Sun. The game has its own value, of course, and the courage to try to propose something so different from what is styled in recent times deserves all the recognition and do it, in addition, giving up things like combat. Leaving aside the condition that Close to the Sun is exclusive to Epic Games Store, and all the controversy that this has generated, We have had time to test it thoroughly in recent days.
In this analysis of Close to the Sun, we do not discover anything about the fascinating journey of the two sisters that can blow up some of the surprises that are hidden inside, but we tell you what we think of the trip.
Storm in a Glass of Water
The start of Close to the Sun could not be more suggestive. We are Rose Archer, a journalist from the year 1897 who receives a mysterious letter from her sister Ada. A letter in which we are summoned to enter the Helios, a marine and floating utopia created by the famous inventor Nikola Tesla. It is a place where the most sophisticated minds of the planet are its only inhabitants, and that works in a way completely outside the rest of the world. Logically, an ideal place to build a video game.
The reminiscences with Bio Shock are more than obvious. Not only aesthetically, with the clear commitment to the Art Decó of both productions, but also for the fact that if we change the motivations of Rapture and Helios and replace Andre Ryan by Tesla himself we have very clear parallels between both works. On this occasion, Helios is a gigantic ship, instead of an underwater city, but they also have in common the fact that both locations end up becoming a protagonist of the experience.
With the ship in quarantine, a word that takes special prominence throughout the adventure, the feelings of isolation are a constant and the game becomes strong in that perception of our environment as something threatening. The mystery of what has happened in that place joins the fantasy elements that surround us, and the start of the adventure is familiar, yes, but also very suggestive. Then … Well, the thing stays a little along the way.
The reminiscences with Bio Shock are more than obvious
The setting is very careful, and it is a pleasure to walk through the corridors of Helios in the five hours that the adventure can take us. And, in addition, there are quite original touches like the fact of mixing the fantasy of his argument with real characters in the form of renowned scientists and other historical figures, and there is even some scare quite estimable. The main problem is that almost everything is told through notes or documents, and there are very few moments in which the narrative advances in a more organic and proper form of the year 2019. In this sense, it looks like a game a little anachronistic This would be something that would be overlooked without problems if the story were interesting, it would not be the first game that forces us to get involved with this type of mechanism in its argument, but we quickly realize that the campaign has a good start but a poor developing.
Do not explore too much the fascinating universe that could have consolidated, and end the adventure leaving us wanting to have known more about this place. The mixture of science with the fantasy of ghosts could (and should) have given much more of itself. Storm in a Teacup had wicks to have achieved a much more interesting game in this area, especially considering that it is the great attraction point of an adventure that is so limited in playable terms.
Between the Terror and the Walk, Simulator
There is no combats . Close to the Sun takes the courageous decision to be a game of exploration and adventure, but to completely renounce direct confrontations. That does not mean that there are no active parts, of course, but they are faced from a similar prism to games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent: that is, from a point of view of total helplessness. Although, yes, they are much more isolated and limited than the terror title of Frictional Games.
Precisely one of the weakest points of the game are the persecutions we play, trying to reach the safe areas where we are not threatened. Moments of maximum tension, trying not to fall into dead ends and not to be caught. They are not very well resolved, do not allow great interaction on our part and end up being somewhat tedious for their lack of challenge. It does not give the sensation that the mobility of the protagonist had been thought from the beginning to be able to confront a similar mechanics and it seems, rather, something introduced at the last minute to try to endow with greater variety to the adventure. As if that were not enough, there are some frustrating moments derived, mainly, from some very annoying dying patterns that may end up being repeated too much.
What will we mainly dedicate our time to in the game? To solve puzzles of different types. The patterns are repeated, and none is especially challenging. Quite the contrary, it is curious that in a title that should have made the puzzles their strong point these are so un stimulating.
The greater the complexity of the puzzles and exploration with more possibilities could have given us a much more general proposal. The restricted areas of the ship abound, something justifiably argumentative for the aforementioned quarantine, but that is a decision that weighs down a sense of freedom that would have come very well to move us by ship and discover its mysteries. We are very tied to the time to move through the bowels of Helios.
One of the weakest points of the game are the persecutions that we starred in.
And it’s a shame because the ship is a place that makes you want to explore. The beautiful combination of the powerful artistic direction (reminiscent of the aforementioned Bio Shock or the Prey of Arkane Studios ) with its robust sound section makes it a very pleasant experience to see and hear. The title, in addition, has the remarkable distribution effort of reaching our country translated and folded to our language, although with some aspects that can be improved in their work of adapting to Spanish. For example, the introduction sounds “weird” in Spanish, as overly processed for the kind of sound evocative of the one you want to show off, and the interpretations are not too good either. That is why, in the video of the first 10 minutes that accompanies the text, you can see it in the original version with subtitles. A clearly superior version.
Halfway between the walking simulator and the horror game, Close to the Sun does not quite convince in either of the two areas. He totally trusts his success in history and the puzzles but offers nothing particularly memorable in either field. It is an experience that is not bad, and that you can enjoy because of its careful and oppressive setting, but from a distance, it seemed capable of having given much more of itself.
- The setting is definitely the strong point of the game.
- Despite its similarities with Bio Shock, its startup is very powerful.
- The renunciation of direct action is an interesting novelty and a courageous decision.
- The chase scenes are not up to the task.
- History should have given much more of itself.
- The puzzles are nice but, for the most part, excessively simple.